Wes Brown’s first-half header was enough, but the non-league side were close to securing an FA Cup fifth-round replay.
Man Utd edge past tenacious Crawley Town
Richard Brodie hit the bar in stoppage time as non-league Crawley Town went down 1-0 and narrowly failed to take Manchester United to an FA Cup replay.
Wes Brown’s first-half header proved enough for United, who struggled to cope with Crawley’s tenacity.
Introduced at half-time, Wayne Rooney was so frustrated he was booked for a cynical attack on Kyle McFadzean before Brodie came so agonisingly close to an equaliser.
United were quickly onto the offensive, winning a couple of corners before Gabriel Obertan flashed a cross in front of the Crawley goal.
The visitors were indebted to McFadzean for intervening as Javier Hernandez checked his run and tried to shuffle the ball onto his favoured right foot after collecting a fine pass from Darron Gibson.
This time Crawley did not survive the corner, stand-in skipper Wes Brown getting the faintest of touches after Gibson had swung it in, enough to send the ball beyond Michael Kuipers into the corner.
Fabio wasted an excellent opportunity to double United’s lead when he burst onto Michael Carrick’s through-ball but prodded wide with his right foot, when the angle was better for the Brazilian to shoot with his left.
Obertan then brought a decent save out of Kuipers with a blistering shot from the angle of the penalty area.
David Hunt got on the end of Brodie’s cross and flashed an effort just wide, then, aiming for the same goal Rooney found in such spectacular fashion seven days earlier, Matt Tubbs’ overhead kick sailed narrowly over.
Rooney was booked for a cynical attack on McFadzean three minutes from time, then, with the game entering stoppage time, Brodie - denied a penalty moments earlier - guided a header onto the crossbar with Anders Lindegaard scrambling to get back.